I was hoping I could wait for a few weeks before I returned to this topic, but it looks like the morons over at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) can’t manage to stay out of the news for that long.
In addition to their recent desire to spill the remains of my dead relatives, the well-mannered thugs at the TSA would now like to sample my coffee/juice/tea….after I buy it at the airport, INSIDE the security checkpoints.
And no, I’m not kidding.
A seemingly new airport security measure is leaving some passengers surprised and upset. Passengers in Colorado say they’ve been asked to hand over drinks they buy inside the airport terminal for additional testing.
KJCT-8 News in Grand Junction, CO reports that TSA agents are asking airport patrons to open up their drinks so that they conduct a second round of screenings at their flight gates.
“The water or the juices or anything you buy here in the airport, the TSA’s going to come over and look and check and test it? I mean, it’s just ridiculous,” added experienced flyer Thomas Burgard.
So, I go to the airport, go through the free, TSA-provided colonoscopy and the minefield of detectors, show my ID half a dozen times, and after all that, if I buy a BEVERAGE, ….IT gets searched? Who has allegedly done something to it: Me? How could I – you searched/scanned/x-rayed/groped everything I have. What, am I David Copperfield?
And other than me, the only other person who had contact with my drink is the bored-yet-surly barista handing me my overpriced coffee, which I REALLY need right now since I had to get to the airport 2+ hours early in order to traverse the aforementioned security obstacle course and massage parlor.
Gosh, I love air travel.
This other news item is more of the same, but sets the bar even lower than I feared possible.
From the NY Post.com:
The TSA’s bungling reached a new low yesterday when a JFK Airport terminal had to be evacuated and hundreds of passengers marched back through security screening all because one dimwitted agent failed to realize his metal detector had been unplugged, sources told The Post.
The stunning error led to hours of delays, two planes called back from the runway and infinite frustration for furious passengers.
“The truth is, this is the failure of the most basic level of diligence,” a law-enforcement source said. “How can you expect the public to feel confident of the mission of the TSA if they don’t even know if the lights are turned on?”
The chaos at Terminal 7 was caused by screener Alija Abdul Majed, who had manned Lane No. 1 during the morning shift with no idea his metal detector had no juice, sources said. Amazingly, he failed to realize that alert lights never flashed once as streams of passengers filed through the dead detector, the sources said.
Majed was so clueless that he couldn’t even tell police how long the machine had been shut off or how it happened, the sources said.
“It was simply an unplugged machine — the TSA doing its best,” another source said.
Seriously, it’s almost like they’re trying to look bad.
There are several more similarly comforting stories, including TSA employees getting fired for drinking on the job, while other TSA officials are getting fired for sleeping on the job. But the question I keep asking myself as I slog my way through these stories and dozens more is: WHY???
Why am I made to feel like an inmate arriving at Leavenworth whenever I want to fly somewhere? Why does the TSA need to remind its employees that staying awake actually is in their job description? Why do their hiring practices look more and more like an open casting call for ‘Dumb & Dumber 3-D’?
I’ll tell you why: Because they have no idea what they’re doing.
In our previous post on this I included some quotes from Isaac Yeffet, the former head of security for the Israeli airline El Al. This time I found a TV interview he did with Shepard Smith back in 2010, and have included it below. Nothing has changed since it was taped, with the possible exception that we know our existing security is even worse than we thought.
Obviously, I agree with Yeffet that the technology we currently employ is too reactive, and just gives the “illusion” of security. Contrast that with the El Al agents: all highly skilled, educated and trained, ….all antithetical to the TSA. Hiring Yeffet would be a solid first step towards remaking this agency, but so would scrapping it altogether and starting from scratch.
Now that’s a TSA proposal I could endorse.